Minnesota Artillery

US Army artillery major's uniform

Minnesota raised three batteries of light artillery and one regiment of heavy artillery during the Civil War.  The First Battery served at Shiloh (April 1862), Corinth (October 1862), the siege of Vicksburg (May - July 1863), and in Gen. William T. Sherman’s campaigns in Atlanta (May - September 1864) and the Carolinas (January - March 1865).   The Second Battery was engaged at Perryville (October 1862), Stone's River (December 1862 - January 1863), Chickamauga (September 1863), and the siege of Chattanooga (October-November 1863).  Raised in 1863, the Third Battery participated in three campaigns against the Dakota.  The First Minnesota Regiment of Heavy Artillery was raised in late 1864 and garrisoned in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The following manuscript collections are organized by military unit and alphabetized by the last name of the soldier.  Each collection title is followed by the soldier's name in parentheses, if applicable.  Descriptions are brief and may be incomplete. Follow the links below to the Minnesota Historical Society's online catalog and finding aids for full descriptions.

First Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery

  • Company Morning Reports and Records, December 1861 - June 1865.
    A volume of daily and monthly rosters and narrative accounts including the Battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, the Atlanta Campaign, and Sherman’s March to the Sea.
  • Muster Rolls and Historical Data, 1864 - 1906.
    Muster rolls, announcements of reunions, a historical sketch of the unit, and a map of the Battle of Shiloh showing Battery positions.
  • Joseph M. Allen Letters, 1862 - 1863.
    Describes battles and movements, especially the Battle of Corinth (October 9, 1862) where Senior Second Lieutenant Allen was wounded. Other letters describe his illness and death from dysentery.
  • Winston W. Cheatham and Family Papers, 1830 - 1905. (James Cheatham)
    About 25 letters home from Privates James Major Cheatham with the Battery in the South. Also included are letters (April-August, 1865) from Henry Cheatham and Charles Wilson during their military service at Fort Ridgely and with the Alfred Sully expedition into Dakota Territory and from Private Charles Wilson after his transfer to the Third Battery.
  • James C. Christie and Family Papers, 1823 - 1975.  (William and Thomas Christie)
    Scores of letters from the two brothers include articulate observations on the war and detailed descriptions of combat. The collection includes letters to the brothers from their sister Sarah Jane Christie and their father James.
  • Thomas and Carmelite Christie and Family Papers, 1804 - 1977.  (William and Thomas Christie)
    Additional copies of letters from the brothers, later reminiscences of the Battles of  Shiloh, Corinth and Iuka, and an unfinished 107-page reminiscence of Thomas’ service with the Battery.
  • Reuben Farnum Letters, 1864 - 1865.
    Letters to Farnum's wife, Roxanna, describing service with the Battery including the Atlanta  Campaigns and Sherman’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas. 
  • My Dear Companion:  The Civil War letters and journal of Corporal Albion Otis Gross of the First Minnesota Battery of Light Artillery, January 1, 1864 - June 10, 1865.
    Private Gross’ graphic, frank letters and journal span January 1864 through the end of the war. Transcribed and edited by Robert Meinhard.
  • Emil Munch Papers, 1861 - 1865.
    Correspondence and other papers relating to Captain Munch’s command of the Battery until severely wounded at the battle of Shiloh, then in the State Militia, the U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps and in 1865 as major in the First Regiment of Heavy Artillery.
  • Anders Nielson Letters, 1862, 1864.
    Photocopies of letters in Norwegian dated November 15, 1862 and August 22, 1864.  The letters (call number
    P939: Nielson, Anders) can be viewed in the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota History Center.
  • Chesley Pratt and Family Papers, undated and 1862, 1864. 
    Five 1864 letters from Pratt's brothers in the 3rd and 6th Regiments.

Second Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery

  • Lyman Warren Ayer Papers, 1862 - 1961.
    Four letters to his wife from Nashville and Chattanooga describe army life, opinions about the war, life in the South, missionary work among Southern African Americans and efforts to obtain a commission.
  • Francis S. Flint and Family Papers, 1855 - 1881. (Francis Flint, William Spaulding)
    Numerous letters to Jennie Russell describe life in and campaigns of the Battery from March 1862 to June 1865, including his capture at Murfreesboro and imprisonment in Virginia. Portions have been edited. A record of religious activities in the Battery and two William Spaulding diaries (February 1863 - May 1864) are included.
  • William Henry Shaw Diary, 1864.
    Documents the Battery’s operations in the Chattanooga area during 1864.
  • William A. Spaulding Civil War Diaries, undated and 1861 - 1865.
    Three diaries with brief entries and typed transcripts cover his full enlistment from 1861 - 1865 (see also two additional two diaries listed in the Francis S. Flint and Family Papers).
  • Letters regarding Tristam Tidd, 1863.
    Two letters dated January 15 and 23, 1863 concern Tidd’s health and Battery operations.

Third Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery 

  • Winston W. Cheatham and Family Papers, 1830  - 1905. (Henry Cheatham, Charles Wilson)
    Several 1865 letters from these two privates describe garrison life at Fort Ridgely and the 1865 Sully Expedition.
  • G. Merrill Dwelle and Family Papers, 1843 - 1896.
    Lieutenant Dwelle, wounded veteran of the Second Company Sharpshooters, describes training and service with the newly raised Battery in his letters.
  • John Jones and Family Papers, 1823 - 1937.
    Ordnance Sergeant Jones’ pre-Civil War military papers, numerous 1863 letters to his wife covering service on the Minnesota frontier and the Sibley Expedition, and over a dozen 1865 letters from the Minnesota frontier and the Northwestern Indian Expedition. The collection includes many testimonials on his service at the 1862 Battles of Fort Ridgely.
  • John Q. Wilson Papers, 1860 - 1866, 1913.
    Diary dated July 1865 to March 1866 relates the Battery’s service on the 1865 Sully Expedition and surviving harsh winter conditions.

First Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery

  • Battery L Records, 1864 - 1867.
    Reports, muster rolls, official correspondence and orders issued to the company.
  • George T. Bartlett Papers, 1834, 1863 - 1865.
    Letters to family describing life at Fort Snelling and the Regiment’s move south. Two  letters written by others describe Bartlett’s illness and subsequent death at a Chattanooga  hospital.
  • Luther L. Baxter and Family Papers, 1853 - 1950. 
    Records kept by Lieutenant Colonel Baxter, previously a captain in the 4th Minnesota Infantry, include letters from other officers and prominent Minnesotans.
  • James Lockwood and Family Papers, 1865 and [189?] - 1948. (H, 1st HA)
    Six letters to his wife and an army pass.
  • Emil Munch Papers, 1832 - 1887.
    Papers relate to his appointment to and resignation from the Regiment.
  • Paul H. Rosendahl Diaries, 1860 - 1865, 1873 - 1880. (L, 1st HA)
    Diary for 1865.
  • William West. (M, 1st HA)
    Lieutenant West writes advice to his son on March 12, 1865. The letter (call number P939: West, William) can be viewed in the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota History Center.

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